Burger King is in a pickle.
The home of the Whopper is the latest chain to enter the chicken sandwich wars, but the item’s dramatic debut in Michigan is being delayed by a pickle shortage, a local restaurant operator has claimed.
BK’s hand-breaded chicken sandwich was supposed to hit the Wolverine State on March 23, but a dearth of special pickles – or more specifically, the jars they come in – is holding everything up, WOOD-TV reports.
“We have pickles for Whoppers but these are very special bigger, crunchier, zesty pickles [for the new sandwich,]” Jim MacDonald, vice president of operations for Burger King Grand Rapids explained.
“We have pickles for Whoppers but these are very special bigger, crunchier, zesty pickles,” Jim MacDonald, vice president of operations for Burger King Grand Rapids, told the outlet in a Thursday interview. “The problem was we couldn’t get the pickles because they couldn’t get the jars during the pandemic. They couldn’t make the jars to put the pickles in… so they couldn’t make enough to get them where we needed them.”
MacDonald runs 26 Burger Kings in Holland, Grand Rapids, Greenville and Ionia, among other nearby areas, and said that his restaurants,owned by Factorial Holdings, wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demand that Burger Kings in nearby states Wisconsin, Ohio and Illinois have seen for the hot new sandwich.
Despite the delay, there’s no ruffled feathers. The operations vice president told MLive.com that about $80,000 was spent at each restaurant on new equipment to best prepare the raw chicken for the sandwich. Restaurant workers are also completing special training through online “chicken chats” to study best practices for preparing the dish.
“It’s a lot of work,” he said. “The raw chicken has a lot of food safety issues than what we are not used to dealing with, so it’s been some very aggressive training.”
Looking ahead, the crispy chicken sandwich is finally set to debut at six of MacDonald’s 26 locations on April 14, with plans to expand from there. Though local ownership may affect debut days, MacDonald added that the new white-meat sandwich should grace all Michigan Burger King menus by May 5.
Though the competition is fierce among the fast food set, Burger King isn’t chickening out of the craze, he said.
“It’s better than Popeyes,” MacDonald wagered of BK’s recipe, pointing out that both chains are owned by parent company Restaurant Brands International.
“[Burger King] has some information on how Popeyes makes their sandwiches,” he alleged. “In my opinion, it’s better than Popeyes and Chick-fil-a. That’s of course when you do it right.”
A spokesperson for Burger King was not immediately available to offer comment to Fox News on the pickle problem in Michigan.
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